NGC 869 and NGC 884

Open Cluster NGC 869 (= De Chéseaux No. 6 = H VI.33 = h Persei), type 'f', and
Open Cluster NGC 884 (= De Chéseaux No. 7 = H VI.34 = chi Persei), type 'e', in Perseus

The Double Cluster

[NGC 869 and 884 anon image]

h Persei, NGC 869 chi Persei, NGC 884
Right Ascension 2 : 19.0 (h:m) 2 : 22.4 (h:m)
Declination +57 : 09 (deg:m) +57 : 07 (deg:m)
Distance 7.1 (kly) 7.4 (kly)
Visual Brightness 4.3 (mag) 4.4 (mag)
Apparent Dimension 30 (arc min) 30 (arc min)
Perhaps known pre-historically. Cataloged 130 B.C. by Hipparcos.

The famous double cluster in Perseus was known in antique times (probably even pre-historically), and first cataloged by the Greek astronomer Hipparcos.

Both clusters are situated in the Perseus OB 1 association, and also only a few hundred light-years appart, at a distance of over 7000 light years. They are both quite young: h is listed at 5.6, chi at 3.2 million years (Sky Catalog 2000); their hottest main sequence stars are of spectral type B0. They are approaching us at 22 (h) and 21 (chi) km/sec, respectively.

O'Meara and Green (2003) point out to some historical confusion about the identity of the designations or names, or the objects "Chi" and "h" Persei. As they point out, since the 1840s, the name "Chi" is attributed to NGC 884, and "h" to NGC 869. However, these authors point out that very probably, Tycho Brahe measured one position for the "nebulous star" that is actually the double cluster, and Johann Bayer designated this "star" as Chi. Probably, he used the name "h Persei" for a fainter nearby star.

Both clusters are listed in the SAC 110 best NGC object list. The double cluster is in the RASC's Finest N.G.C. Objects Objects list. It is Caldwell 14 in Patrick Moore's list.

  • The Double Cluster h and Chi Persei was featured in Jeff Bondono's Masterpieces Messier Missed for December, 1996

  • Jean-Claude Mermilliod's WEBDA cluster page for NGC 869
  • Jean-Claude Mermilliod's WEBDA cluster page for NGC 884
  • SIMBAD Data of h Persei, NGC 869
  • SIMBAD Data of Chi Persei, NGC 884
  • Publications on NGC 869 (NASA ADS)
  • Publications on NGC 884 (NASA ADS)
  • Observing Reports for NGC 869 (IAAC Netastrocatalog)
  • Observing Reports for NGC 884 (IAAC Netastrocatalog)
  • NGC Online data for NGC 869
  • NGC Online data for NGC 884


    Hartmut Frommert
    Christine Kronberg

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    Last Modification: July 2, 1998